Ahhh, glad you mentioned the softener, and it makes the numbers in the post above make a bit more sense, as they're both very soft and very hard! I'm not too familiar with the methods used to soften water for use in the home, as it isn't a problem I have. From what I've read, however, you'd be best off to bypass the artificially 'softened' water for use in your tank. From my understanding, in many cases the outside water isn't run through a softener, and I've noted that several of our users care for their tanks by using their garden hoses! Byron has written a great article on Water Hardness and pH. Good information that I recommend you take a look at. An excerpt from the article regarding water softeners:
| "A caution on home water softeners: many of these work by replacing the calcium [Ca] and magnesium [Mg] ions with sodium (=common salt) [Na] ions. Each Ca and Mg ion is exchanged for two Na ions. Therefore, the end result is water containing twice the ions--or double the total dissolved solids--it previously had, and for soft water fish this is an even worse situation, plus there is the detrimental impact of the sodium (salt)."
The article in its entirety can be found here: Water Hardness and pH in the Freshwater Aquarium
It is far more difficult to soften water for use in the aquarium than many will lead you to believe - also an expensive process, and one which you'll have to keep very much on top of, as if the water is allowed to swing dramatically from soft to hard the fish will be negatively impacted. All of this said, I've found that it's generally best to stick with the fish that will do well with the water you already have, rather than trying to change your water to suit the fish - most especially true when you're just starting out. There is so much to learn without worrying about keeping water hardness and Ph stable, etc.
So. . . what this means for you is that you can keep a lovely group of hard-water fish and plants - but avoid the softies, as they'd be too difficult for you to maintain right now.
If it's possible for you to get a sample of water from your hose, or from the water before it has passed through the softener, please do so! In the meantime. . . look into the Live-bearer group - Mollies
. These are wonderful little fish, brightly colored and engaging - that enjoy harder water, and are very easy for a beginner to keep. As a bonus, they give birth to live young - and baby fish are always fun! I love my Mollies and Platy, and have really enjoyed keeping them - these are the fish that I started out with, though there are many other options out there, as well as many plants that would be happy to live in hard water to choose from. Take a look through the aquarium profiles linked above and see what appeals to you, and would appreciate your hard water!